“While You Were Out,” is a Friday feature of short notes and commentary from the week. Whether it’s something you’d discuss at the water cooler or at happy hour, you’ll find it on our grid, together with our opinion as to whether it’s praiseworthy or cringeworthy. We’re pleased to bring you the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week!
Sam Smith Croons “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
Oh, Sam Smith. Thank you for recording this melt-worthy version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Once you put it that way, it’s hard not to.
Time’s People of the Year: Ebola Fighters
Time magazine has unveiled its popular annual award for Person of the Year: Medical professionals fighting the deadly virus of Ebola. As Time editor Nancy Gibbs put it, “The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving, the Ebola fighters are Time's 2014 Person of the Year."
But that doesn’t mean the fight against Ebola is over. In fact, the Red Cross recently urged continual vigilance against Ebola during the high-travel holiday season.
The disease most people are likely to encounter this season, however, is not Ebola but the flu, which officials are still encouraging people to protect themselves against with the flu vaccine, if they haven’t already. And, of course, keep good hand hygiene during your holiday shopping. You know, basically keep building those healthy habits you should be doing already.
Dressember: It’s Bigger Than A Dress
Thousands of women from all around the world have joined to make the month of December into 31 days of dresses! What is this all about? Well, it’s bigger than a dress. All of the women participating in Dressember, as they call it, are raising money to help International Justice Mission in the fight against modern day slavery. Visit the website to see how you can join the movement and help advocate for the freedom and dignity of women.
Among Other “Global Challenges” that Come to Mind at the Holidays...
“Alzheimer's is the number-six cause of death in the U.S.; of the top 10 leading causes of death, Alzheimer's is the least funded and the only one with no treatment whatsoever.” This, coming from Seth Rogen, who, out of love for his wife and mother-in-law, has become somewhat of a spokesman against Alzheimer’s Disease. “I've had scientists tell me that their students—researchers who could maybe cure Alzheimer's someday—do not feel inspired to go into that field because of how underfunded it is,” Rogen says. While Alzheimer’s research has in the past involved ethical debates, one would hope researchers could find a way to alleviate effects of this devastating disease at the same time as “doing no harm.”
In the Meantime, This Will Warm Your Heart
We owe it to those suffering from chronic illness to fund medicine and research to find cures. But for those living now without cures to their ailments, sometimes it’s not always about “winning a battle,” it’s about living your life. That’s where our job, as ordinary friends, neighbors, and family members, comes in—to do what we can to make their days a little brighter. Take this example: A Staten Island mom orchestrated a princess photo shoot for her five-year-old daughter suffering from leukemia. What made it unique? The princess Cinderella arrived with a bald head.
In an account that will make you shed a tear of holiday joy, the mother reports that as soon as her daughter Isabella saw the bald beauty, she “lit up” and “ripped her hat off with this huge grin and said, ‘Wow! You look just like me!’” Her daughter had been experiencing self-consciousness being bald in the outside world, but seeing baldness put in a beautiful light—in princess garb no less—changed her view on things. It “made her kind of realize that it's OK—that she's not the only one in the world, that other people are in the same situation. It was such an amazing feeling." Just another reminder of how we have power to shape our own unique standards of beauty.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Meet Brooklyn Royalty
The social media stratospherefreakedout this week when Prince William and Kate Middleton met Jay-Z and Beyonce—at a Brooklyn Nets game, no less. Never mind that the royal couple also met Hillary Clinton and visited the 9/11 Memorial. Their trip to the Big Apple was all about the world’s two biggest couples (IMHO) coming together for the first time. Unlike most of us mere mortals, Dutchess Kate stayed quite calm while chatting it up with Queen Bey. (The same could not be said for when she met Jenna Lyons.)
Speaking of Royal Couples...
Mr. and Mrs. Clooney have shared some choice photos from their wedding album this week! Among the gems is one of the bride looking ecstatic while flower girls jump on a bed. And yes, I said “Mr. and Mrs. Clooney.” Because that’s her last name.
Did Some Producer Visit Colorado Recently?
In a surprise that’s as strange and exciting as that White Elephant gift you’re bound to get this year, Hollywood announced a movie collaboration between the Jump Street series and Men in Black. Yes, it’s random, but I’ll take it! Never underestimate the power of a silly concept to make a hilarious movie. After all, what else explains the success of Hot Tub Time Machine? (About that, yes, there’s a sequel due out in the spring).
In Other Movie News...
Chris Rock’s new film Top Five opens in theaters this weekend. With a high film-critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s bound to generate some laughs!
Golden Globe Nominations Unveiled
The 2015 Golden Globe noms are telling you something: Go see Birdman. The film racked up seven nominations, including those for stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone. We at Verily haven’t yet seen the film but you can bet we’re adding it to our list! As for best motion picture drama, my money is on Boyhood, Richard Linklater’s 12-year epic that follows a young boy as he grows up.
I’m hoping to see Rosamund Pike take the Best Actress, Drama prize for her role in Gone Girl. I don’t want to spoil the film, so let’s just say her performance gave me goosebumps. And who wouldn’t want Annie’s 11-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis to win Best Actress, Comedy/Musical (in her nom, no less)?
When it comes to television, Viola Davis blew me away in ABC’s new hit How to Get Away With Murder. The show itself struggled at points, but Davis’ delivery was always on-point. No love for Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation, or The Walking Dead this year. Angelina Jolie was also passed over as Best Director for Unbroken. I will definitely be tuning in on January 11 to see how this all shakes out!
Kirsten Dunst Joins Fargo
It was announced this week that actress Kirsten Dunst will be appearing in the TV show Fargo. Which is cool, considering we missed hearing from her since she was slammed for making the novel dating suggestion that women should be like women.
Rape Story at UVA Questioned
It turns out the horrifying story of a frat gang rape at the University of Virginia, as reported by Rolling Stone was not fact checked. According to the TheWashington Post, many of the alleged victim’s details are not lining up, and the magazine has admitted it “misplaced” its trust in her as a source. One of the horrible fallouts of this editorial lapse is that it leads to more people doubting women’s accounts of rape. Just another reason that, no matter how important an issue it is, we have to dot our Is and cross our Ts. In fact, the more important the issue, the greater our obligation to do so. That is, if we really want to make a positive difference. Otherwise we risk letting real, serious issues that exist in the world, like rape, be viewed with lazy skepticism.
Lena Dunham’s Rapist Wasn’t Named Barry
Is anyone surprised? After people scoured Dunham’s alma mater of Oberlin College’s records searching for her rapist, the actress and director explained this week that her alleged assailant’s name was changed for her book. As she put it, “Speaking out was never about exposing the man who assaulted me. Rather, it was about exposing my shame, letting it dry out in the sun. I did not wish to be contacted by him or to open a criminal investigation.” If all this is true, it's certainly horrible that some random guy named Barry has been fielding "are you a rapist" questions. But it’s tough to blame her for not desiring contact with her actual alleged assailant, wherever he is.
Bill Cosby is Sued for Defamation
Tamara Green, one of Bill Cosby’s alleged victims, has limited legal options to make a case. Since statutes of limitations prohibit her from filing a suit about her sexual assault from the 70s, she is now filing a suit against him for defaming her as a liar in 2005. If nothing else, her story helps explain how women can be tricked by someone they trust to take pills; according to Green’s allegations, Cosby offered them to her when she was getting the cold, as “over-the-counter cold medicine.”
Australian Woman Petitions to Have Grand Theft Auto Removed from Target
“It hurts to know someone could get a thrill from my abuse,” says Nicole, a formerly prostituted woman who pseudonymously spoke out against GrandTheft Auto V this week. Featuring violence against women, graphic sex scenes, and an option to kill a prostitute to gain your money back, the video game has reached new lows. Misogyny is definitely a problem plaguing the entire gaming industry, but this woman’s petition, calling out stores for legitimizing the items they sell, is definitely a good start.
J. Crew Hired a 4-year-old Girl to Design Their Next Collaboration (!!)
Four-year-old Mayhem (how’s that for the name of a future famous designer?!) has just been hired to design a capsule collection for J. Crew’s kids line, Crewcuts. I know, it sounds totally crazy—but her designs really are beautiful! Kudos to Jenna Lyons for thinking outside the box and giving this adorable fashion savant her start in the industry. And I’m glad to see that Mayhem’s parents have been involved every step of the way, making sure their daughter is safe and happy. The nine-piece “whimsical” collection, Little Mayhem, debuts this spring. I may just have to buy my friend’s little girl a dress (or two!).